7 Outdoor Activities In Fort William, Scotland

best things to do in fort william uk
| 3 min read

Named after William the Orange, Fort William was once a series of settlements in the Highlands of Scotland. Today, it is a popular mountain biking location, and a place for visitors to explore and hike around the great mountains scattered throughout the land. Festivals celebrating Highland culture, the mountains and hiking are celebrated here, showcasing Scottish music, dancing, and tradition from all over the country. Here are 7 popular things to do that will get you out exploring the mystical Scottish Highlands!

1. Steall Waterfall

Steall Falls - geograph.org.uk - 1772920
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ian Stewart used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Drive southeast of Fort William into Glen Nevis Self-Catering Park, and strap on your hiking boots in the parking lot. Make your way across a rocky pass, where tree roots curl around the tall mountainsides peering over you. You look ahead and glimpse a sliver of a stream further on between a valley. Continue walking towards the sliver, and the trees begin to thin out, the mountainsides seem to etch away, and soon enough you are strolling through an open meadow. The sliver turns into a stream, and the mountains beyond it are coated in white. Eventually you reach a point where you can see the waterfall stumbling over the rocks, and pouring into pools down below.

Fun fact: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed here during a Quidditch match scene!

Steall Waterfall

Address: Old Military Rd, Fort William PH33 6SY, UK

Website: Steall Waterfall

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Steall Waterfall Steall Waterfall

Photos of Steall Waterfall shared by content creator from the United States, Loz Piper.

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2. Jacobite Steam Train

62005 - Glenfinnan Viaduct
Source: Photo by user 96tommy used under CC BY 2.0

Remember the Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter? This is it! Hop on this steam train from Fort William and tour the Scottish countryside from mountainous ranges, lochs, to other towns. The Jacobite was built in 1901 to make way for passengers traveling to more rural parts of Scotland. Riding the Jacobite train is recommended if you are leaving or arriving to Fort William, or if you are planning on taking a day trip (or two). Enjoy the plush seats and large windows that stare out into the Highlands!

Jacobite Steam Train

Address: Ben Nevis, Fort William PH33 6DZ, Scotland

Website: Jacobite Steam Train

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3. Treasures of the Earth

Posted by Treasures Of The Earth on Tuesday, 1 March 2016

A family run natural history museum that has been passed down two generations collecting fossils, crystals, and gemstones to display for the public. This museum is a perfect place to take children, especially on a rainy day! You and your family can observe the largest gold nugget discovered during the Scottish Gold Rush, take a look at dinosaur poop, or explore the large room of glittery gemstones. This is a great way to discover what the land was like far before humans roamed Scotland!

Treasures of the Earth

Address: Corpach, Fort William PH33 7JL, UK

Website: Treasures of the Earth

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4. West Highland Museum

Posted by West Highland Museum on Friday, 14 September 2012

Founded in 1922, this museum is dedicated to the history of the West Highlands. It portrays what life was like in the Highlands compared to life today, archaeological finds from the Bronze ages, and military history. There is an entire exhibit on the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria industrialized the Highlands, changing their lives forever. Learn about clans and tartans, and what each tartan color represents for its clan. This museum is family friendly, and it is a great place to get to know the Highlands better!

West Highland Museum

Address: Cameron Square, Fort William PH33 6AJ, UK

Website: West Highland Museum

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5. Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis and Fort William from west
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Viewfinder used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The tallest and one of the most popular mountains to explore in the UK, this landmass is ideal for anyone who wants to stay active and explore the Highlands. The name originates from the Scottish language, Gaelic, and it translates to poisonous or terrible. Don’t worry, this mountain is not dangerous, but the weather is unpredictable and hikers are recommended to stay on the path. Once you reach the summit, you can find ruins of an old observatory that was once built, as well as a World War II memorial.

Ben Nevis

Address: Lochaber, Highland, Scotland, UK

Website: Ben Nevis

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6. Saint Andrew's Church

St Andrew's Church, Fort William
Source: Photo by user Andrew Hackney used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Constructed in 1817, Saint Andrew’s Church became the first Episcopal Church in Fort William. Its interior is filled with admirable architecture, including an organ and a colorful baptistry window. Imagine walking through the streets of Fort William and seeing a sandy looking structure with a tall tower up ahead. As you walk along the grave stones in the church cemetery, you notice large gothic style windows with ribbed arches lining the building. When you enter the church, there is a thick, musty, fragrance filling the dimly lit nave. The colorful glass baptistry window shines as the sun filters light through it, and the organ on the other side makes you feel small but curious.

Saint Andrew's Church

Address: 6 High Street, Fort William PH33 6AS, UK

Website: Saint Andrew’s Church

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7. Old Fort

The old fort at Fort William - geograph.org.uk - 13420
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user J M Briscoe used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Originally built in 1654, the fort was refortified 100 years later, and it has been standing since. The fort has stood through the Glen Coe Massacre in 1692, when the many members of the MacDonald clan were besieged and murdered. Throughout the centuries, the fort has since crumbled, and what remains are left include a stone wall and an entrance archway. Since then, the Highland Council has placed labels and information boards to describe events and teach visitors about life in the fort.

Old Fort

Address: An Aird, Fort William PH33 6EN, UK

Website: Old Fort

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Explore all of Fort William!

The Highlands are great for families and solo travelers who are looking for adventure and escape from large cities. Fort William is an excellent place to indulge in learning about Highland history and Scottish culture. There are an unlimited variety of outdoor activities, from exploring the Old Fort, to hiking up the tallest mountain in the UK! Be sure to bring warm, cozy clothing, and comfortable shoes, because there will be plenty of walking!

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Marié is a young adult trying to incorporate travel and food into her life diet. She has explored parts of North America, Asia, and Europe, and lived in Tokyo, Prague, and San Francisco. She would...Read more

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